Mother’s Day

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!   Psalm 113:9

Mother’s Day isn’t my favorite day. In it’s greatest sense, it is a prideful reflection on how far my child has come and all he has accomplished. My husband and I can laugh at those car pools of sweaty, exceptionally fragrant teen athletes, where every window was open so I didn’t pass out from the smell; or the numerous times I had to remind my passengers not to hit one another in their groins.  The concession stand gigs and the laryngitis from screaming for my son at football and lacrosse games remind me of cold nights and good times.

In its darker sense, it is a reminder of the limitations of my version of motherhood. I am the stepmother of a handsome, intelligent man. He is kind and loving. I came into his life when he was nine years old. At twenty-three, I have been a fixture for more than half his life. Our relationship has evolved over time. I think it’s better, and I have some thoughts on why. But it will never be what I have hoped for when I imagined motherhood.

Most Mother’s Days, I want to stay in bed, covers over head. It reminds me of my infertility, my miscarriages and the life of being important but not the most important woman for the child in my life. I love my son like my own, and I know that I- like the woman in Matthew 15 begging- will benefit just as much from the crumbs as the bread itself.

I have only had one full mother’s day with my son, somewhere around his 12th year. His mother was called away for a family emergency. He was so distraught about being left on mother’s day that he spent all of it sulky and angry. It wasn’t the perfect mother’s day of my dreams, but I took it. I was grateful for it. I think about it often. I know that my adult child has other distractions besides appeasing the two women who raised him. I myself cannot spend the entire day showing gratitude and love to my mother. I have responsibilities. I also know from my own upbringing that relationships are complicated things, full of transgressions and forgiveness.

On Sunday, I will ask God yet again why I cannot have little children drawing me pictures and making me a horrid, inedible breakfast, as we did for mine. But I will also praise God for making me the joyous mother of a child. For allowing me the opportunity to cheer for a son, celebrate his victories and mourn his losses, even if I am not his biological mother. I will eagerly await his wedding and his children, and I will love those sweet blessings with the all my heart. In that way, I will be a mother, a grandmother, a vessel for love. And blessed. Praise the Lord!

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